Early flowering plants

irisbarngardenI often look carefully at iris flowers and ask ‘why do you have to make them so complicated?’ They really are.

Mad, swirly bits, folded bits, all vying to stick out of the top of the stalk like a flag. If you need look at me flowers (m’as tu vu?’) at this time of year then iris win every time.

Just a few of the blue flowers are out this week. The overbred deep crimsons, yellows and browns will follow. And I will be there with a camera, poised and crouching trying to capture their glory.

But let’s face it, I’m a sucker for the leaves as well.irisonwalnutpath

After their late winter cut back, the sentries of spikes look pretty good too.

I’m very pleased with the iris bank: that tricky bit of land between the barn garden and the shade garden.  The iris have all taken well, and the muscari armenicum which I planted in autumn have come up between the plants.

If I were a purist, I would even cut off the flower stalks before they come into flower.  Keep it green.

But the curious in me wantsirisbankspring to see what colours come out when the flowers appear in the next few weeks.  I am not the sort of gardener who actually labels all their plants.  And every year I forget to move the hilariously garish yellow that appear between the sensible blues and drop dead gorgeous crimsons.

Maybe this year seeing that I am ahead of schedule in so many areas I might tie a bit of twine around the iris that need to be put onto the equivalent for the naughty step for having vile colours. Watch this space.mulched thymes

But it’s not all colour and gush in the garden right now. With spring comes weed seeds and I’m doing my bit to keep parts of the garden well covered with mulch.

Here are my two newest garden beds all tucked up and tidy.

The thymes in the potager and the lavenders in their new bed on front of the house have had the mulch treatment.

I did the thymes with shop bought potting mix. Terreau.  I tried a thick blanket of oak and chestnut leaves but reallymulchedlavendersvertical, you couldn’t see the tiny plants in among the dead foliage.

And this brown compost looks a bit like soil from a distance. I had to do those little crossed sticks to stop me from accidently stepping on the tiny plants as I worked. It feels like an art installation when viewed from the courtyard looking down onto the potager.

courtyardsticksThe new lavender bed in front of the house can take the mulched sticks however.

Here is a shot of the very fast turnaround from the pile of prunings on the courtyard paving – shoved into the car – taken down to the stables – fed into the chipper – turned into a brilliant covering mulch.

anemoneI had a great mix of vine prunings, mulberry branches and all sorts of twigs and sticks that were blown about in recent storms. Plus plum branches. Plenty of those.

And just to complete the picture – early flowering plants and all that. Here are the little anemones. Is that right? Amenomes? Gad, that’s tricky. Yes I got it right the first time. Small white flowers in the rose planters.  I like the cool whites as a salve before the zing of spring really kicks in.

The Thalias are starting to look pretty good too.  I just need about 500 more to be really, really happy with the look.

daffs thalia